Labour pains at school transport

    From left, Denis Hynes, Minister John Halligan, Brendan Howlin and Jimmy Drennan

    A LOCAL Labour Party General Election candidate is at pains to highlight school transport chaos.

    “I was approached by parents of children travelling on the school bus from the Royal Oak, Bagenalstown through Paulstown, Gowran and Clara to secondary schools in Kilkenny City,” trade union official Denis Hynes told The Reporter.

    Five families, seven children, found out in August that they would not get a seat on the bus.

    Some were starting Leaving Cert year and had been on the bus for five years.

    “Our Party leader, Brendan Howlin and myself met parents and committed to highlight the issue. To have local parent, Jimmy Drennan present was important,” Denis said.

    “We are led to understand that the decision to restrict access to seats was made even though there has been a significant increase in students.

    “It is reasonable to assume that no proper analysis was done by the Department of Education because if they had done their homework properly, they couldn’t possibly justify their decisions.”

    “I made the Minister John Halligan aware of commitments made by former Minister for Education, Noel Dempsey in 2005 when he closed the secondary school in Goresbridge.

    “The then Minister said school transport would be available for students in the catchment area to get them to Kilkenny if they so wished.”

    “We cannot allow ourselves to be forgotten,” Denis added.

    “The educational future of children cannot be impacted because they live in rural Ireland. The Minister has committed that he will review the submission we made to him and revert to us.”